Saturday, March 12, 2016

 Columbus NM Concludes 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the Pancho Villa Raid
Phillip Skinner, Mayor of Columbus, March 12,  2016

On March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa, his army crippled from defeat the year before at the battle of Celaya (a turning point in the civil war between Villa and Carranza) attacked Columbus, NM, just across the border, with a force of about 500 horsemen.  The reasons for doing this have not been totally settled by historians, but almost certainly Villa believed that this attack would provoke an armed intervention of the U.S. Army into Mexico, and he must have believed he might benefit somehow from a U.S. invasion. Our memory of that raid is inseparable from our sense of the man, the character--ruthless, at times brilliant, dangerous, always fascinating--that was Pancho Villa.  The closest American figure of that time period who stirs us in a similar way is Teddy Roosevelt:  both men invented themselves through highly creative actions, projecting larger-than-life personalities each was unafraid to indulge while on the stage of history.

Yesterday in Columbus Mexican horsemen from the cabalgada swapped stories with men dressed in Blackjack Pershing uniforms, couples danced in the main square, and the museums were full.  In Palomas, on the Mexican side, Americans ate and drank beer to lively Mexican oldies played by local musicians at the Pink Store.

Here on a hundred-year-old battleground, winds and dust of March, blowing stiffly all day long, paying no heed to the borderline, we seemed to be a very long distance from the 60 ft. wall of Donald Trump's imagination.  The border seemed to be a friendly place again, people on both sides using an anniversary as a good excuse to party it up on a Saturday in the early spring.

Sergio Romero, owner of the Pink Store

100 Years After the Attack on American Soil, No One Seemed to Think we Need a 60 Ft. Wall 
Between Palomas and Columbus Today

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